Not been to Japan recently? Then you’ve probably not come across QR Codes …
Quick Response Codes, to give them their full name, are a sort of advanced bar code, but instead of a series of vertical bars like traditional bar codes they are actually composed of black and white blocks in a square shape. The advantage of this is that they can hold much more data than a standard bar code can, not just a series of numbers, but entire strings of text – here, for example, is the QR Code for the Wikipedia article about QR Codes themselves:
If you have a QR Code reader on your camera enabled mobile phone, or even a webcam and the right software on your PC or laptop, you can point it at this code and it will decode it into the correct string of text.
The codes are very popular in Japan, where some surveys have suggested more than 75% of the population are familiar with them, but not so well known here in the west.
QR Codes at the University of Exeter
We’re hoping to make more use of these codes at the University, embedding them into posters and the like so that you only need point your phone at one and go straight to a relevant website with more details for whatever event the poster is advertising. Alternatively they could be used to download someones contact details, for example a particular office or tutor that you often need to contact, or even transfer a calendar appointment just using a camera and a piece of paper.
Try it Out – How to make your own QR Code
Making a code is very simple – you can even use Google Charts to do it in seconds. For a website link you simply need to append to this web address the website address you want to link to:
So to link to the BBC you simply add the BBC’s web address like this:
Try clicking on that link and you should see an QR Code image. This can be copied, saved or printed, just like any other image you find on the web.
Why not give it a whirl yourself – click on this link, and then add whatever you want to add to the end of the web address and refresh the webpage, and the code will change in front of your eyes: